For a small number of people, holidays are the times were they can eat more regularly, sleep-rest-move more and therefore lose or not gain weight at all! For most people, holidays are “let go” periods where one tends to “indulge” more with little or no restrictions! It can also be very challenging if you are visiting another country or town where the food is different and interesting and you want to taste and experience a new cuisine!
It can be very complicated if you got to a “all inclusive” hotel where you are served with foods and drinks 24/7!! For this reason alone, I really advise not to choose a place like this if you have a choice! I speak from experience! I just returned from one of these ‘all inclusive’ holidays and the temptation was just too much!!
So here are 10 tips you can try during the holidays, to stay fit, not gain weight and keep the holiday mood!
You can also try these before you go out for dinner or if you are invited, any occasion where it is difficult to keep up with healthy eating, especially if your host is eager to load you with carbs (like spaghetti or pizza)!
1. Start the day with a strong breakfast
Having a strong breakfast, with protein (eggs, cheese, seeds), fiber (raw vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, parsley, mint, etc), healthy fats (nuts, avocado, seeds, olives) and complex carbohydrates like wholewheat bread or oats is a great way to start your day and a great boost to your metabolism! Try to stay away from carbs like cakes, croissants, white breads with jam and nutella…. however, don’t forget to indulge yourself from time to time!
I usually start my day with a big omelette with mushrooms, cheese and tomatoes and a bit of salad, finishing off with either porridge or muesli! This is a big breakfast and keep me satisfied for a long time, especially during the holidays when I am active and running around all day – and keeps me aways from snacking!
2. Carry some healthy snacks!
Nuts save your life when you are in need of a quick fix in between meals. Make sure you have some mixed nuts in your bag such as, almonds, walnuts and even some dried fruit! A seasonal satsuma can also save the day and keep you away from that first unhealthy snack you see when the craving starts!
3. Drink lots of WATER!
Hydration helps in many ways and even helps keep your appetite under control! Drink in between meals (not during) and carry your bottle everywhere! Drink about 2lts, 8 glasses minimum of water per day.
4. Keep Lunch bigger then Dinner!
A typical raki (arak/ouzo) and meze (tapas) table in Istanbul!
This is not easy but try to have your main meal of the day at lunchtime. Eat well and indulge then make dinner as light as possible. Stay away from carbohydrates like rice, pasta, pizza, bread, etc at dinner. Focus on big delicious salads, lean and healthy proteins and delicious vegetables! Eat a big salad before or during your meal to avoid only eating the main meal. Use your “carb time” at breakfast and lunch! This way you will also do your digestive system a favour and sleep better which in turn helps the hormones to work properly at night for detoxification and fat burning!
5. Limit your desserts and drinks!
The big trap!
Decide a weekly limit for yourself and stick to it! Maybe 2 desserts per week, or 1 glass of wine per day and make sure you stick to it! Don’t ruin your pre holidays efforts by regaining the weight that you lost, it really is not worth it!
Try my own delicious healthy dessert – like oat porridge decorated with almonds and fruits, seeds, nuts and cinnamon! Delicious, nutritious, guilt free self-made dessert!
6. Exercise and move more then usual!
A morning walk during a summer holiday
Holidays are much better when you keep moving! We all need some down time but try to keep those lazy moments for the evenings! Go for a walk before or after breakfast, or even after dinner, try new sports like pilates, yoga, zumba, canoeing, etc if you can. Sweating out the toxins from daily life will make feel much more rested then lying around all day doing nothing! Be active all day and you will profit from a long, deep well rested sleep at night!
7. Stay away from the bread basket!
A bread basket from our Provance, France holiday, oh la la la!!
Enjoy the delicious food you choose, just be careful not to overload your body on empty calories! Put the bread basket away, ask the waiter not to bring it to your table at all! Enjoy what is on your plate and put the bread away!!!
8. Eat up to 80% of your stomach’s capacity
Over eating and filling up your stomach over capacity can really put pressure on your digestive system. Listen to yourself, use your gut feelings (literally!) and stop before you are “fully full”! You can always top up with some healthy snacks later, so don’t worry! And share your big meals or desserts with others, do you really have to eat all that pizza or tiramisu…really?
9. Skip or replace dinner with healthier options
Choose 1 or 2 nights per week, especially after big outings or meals by either skipping dinner or make it really small and just have a bowl of soup, or a plain salad or grilled fish with green a salad. A green juice would be ideal after a big blowout, pure vegetables to clean out your system. This might not be easy if you are away from home during the holidays, however I once found a place in Istanbul when I was travelling so you can always ask, where there’s a will there’s a way!
10. Slow down and enjoy the moment and things around the food!
At the end of the day, this is your holiday and you must enjoy every moment. It is scientifically proven that if you slow down, breath enough, be mindful of what you are eating, you actually burn more calories then if you are stressed, rushed and not paying attention to what you eat! Find out more about this magical fat burning effect in my article here.
And remember that, holidays, parties and special gatherings are actually not only about the food but more about the people and our connections! Enjoy the conversations, the laughters-tears-dances-hugs… as much as you do with the food and even more!
Food is not the only source of joy in life, there are so many other ways to indulge yourself and be happy!
Meet with your best friend for a walk and see how much you enjoy those moments even if you are not eating!! Go to a SPA or a massage, take you mom-dad-sister-friend on a city tour, see a movie or a concert, rather then planning all occasions around a table!
Wishing you great holidays where you can relax, have a break, recharge your batteries, energise yourself and stay fit and on top form!
P.S. If you need some help, motivation and guidance to get back on wagon, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out my detox, nutrition and yoga packages. If you are living outside of Geneva, we can always use Skype for our sessions and actually it is much practical then any other methods!